- A California teacher is on leave after a viral video showed her waving overhead tomahawks during class.
- A Native American student in the class shot the video after seeing her pull out a fake headdress.
- John W. North High School called the incident an “offensive” manifestation of Native American culture.
A California high school teacher has been put on leave after an “offensive” portrayal of Native American culture in the classroom.
A video of the event posted to Instagram earlier this week has gone viral. In the video, the unnamed teacher is “war hoop and tomahawk hash,” the Instagram post read. A Native American student began filming in the classroom because he “felt that violence was being committed against him and that he had the right to record,” said the Instagram account, which is owned by a woman named Akalei Brown who says she acts as a spokesperson for the student’s family.
A post shared by Akalei Brown (@corn_maiden_designs)
The teacher, employed by John W. North High School in Riverside, Calif., Wore a fake headdress and did aerial tomahawks in front of her class, video shows.
“This student has an Aboriginal first name and outwardly identifies as Native American,” Brown wrote in his article, urging social media users to contact school administrators to complain. “We need to end the abuse and discrimination against Indigenous youth in schools! There is no excuse for this type of behavior. We’re not in the 1960s anymore, she should know better.”
Video: Math teacher filmed wearing feather headdress and mocking Native American dances (Newsweek)
Click to enlarge
In a statement posted on its own Instagram page, the high school said the teacher has been put on leave, but it is not clear whether or not this is paid.
“These behaviors are totally unacceptable and constitute an offensive representation of the vast and vast Native American cultures and practices,” the statement said. “His actions do not represent the values of our neighborhood.” The statement also urges students who feel they need support in light of the incident to contact school counselors.
A post shared by John W. North High School (@northhs)
An investigation into the incident is underway, according to the school.
“We will work with our students, families, staff and community to regain your trust,” the school wrote in the statement.